In 1885, renowned carriage-maker George L. Brownell of New Bedford, Conn. was hired to produce a custom fleet of horse-drawn hearses for the villages of Barnstable. Seven were made, but only one remains – and when it’s not touring museums, it’s kept at the historic Hearse House in Marstons Mills Cemetery.
First settled by English colonists in 1640, Yarmouth, Massachusetts is one of the oldest communities on the Cape. Since the 1800s it has been known as both a farming town and a summer destination for travelers to come enjoy the area’s forests and beaches.
Farms are less prevalent here now than they once were, and the old-growth forests have given way to homes and businesses, but Yarmouth remains a beautiful place to live, work, and be remembered.
Historic Burial Sites in Yarmouth
The oldest and best-known of Yarmouth’s municipal cemeteries is Ancient Cemetery on Center Street. The grounds were the site of the community’s first church and meeting house, established in 1639. Back then, there were no municipal cemeteries and no funeral directors, but graves held a place of honor at the heart of a growing community.
The First Congregational Church building is gone, but a boulder bearing a memorial plaque still stands at the center of the cemetery as a permanent monument to the people whose lives helped shape the town over many centuries.
The oldest headstone in the cemetery dates to 1698. Since then, more than 5,000 people have been memorialized here, including Revolutionary War soldiers, ship captains lost at sea, and relatives of founding families. Volunteers maintain the historic graves and plant daffodils each spring in honor of these lives.
Modern Ways to Say Goodbye
Yarmouth has grown and expanded significantly since the 1600s, and Ancient Cemetery isn’t at the center of town anymore. Honoring the lives of community members and their loved ones continues to be important, though.
The Town of Yarmouth maintains seven municipal cemeteries:
- Ancient Cemetery on Center Street
- Baptist Cemetery on Old Main Street
- Chandler Gray Cemetery at 161 Old Mill Way
- Georgetown Cemetery on High Bank Road
- Methodist Cemetery at 646 Willow Street
- Pine Grove Cemetery on Pine Grove Road off of Station Ave
- Woodside Cemetery on Route 28
Cremation-only lots are still available in Ancient Cemetery for those looking to be memorialized among the historic graves. Chandler Gray, the youngest of Yarmouth’s cemeteries, has ample space for individual and family plots for both traditional burial and the burial of cremated remains.
Some people prefer the idea of having their ashes scattered in a meaningful location rather than being buried in a traditional cemetery. Cremation provides greater flexibility in when and how remains are laid to rest, and there are many natural and beautiful places to scatter ashes in Yarmouth.
Burial at sea one popular choice, with several boat companies offering journeys 30 nautical miles from shore so ashes can be legally scattered in the ocean.
Or, if you’d prefer to stay on land, you could choose a coastal location like Seagull Beach or Bass River Beach, or a picturesque destination in the forests and marshes along the Cape Cod Rail Trail. Just be sure to contact the state or national park authority, or private property owner, for permission before planning an ash scattering ceremony.
Our Yarmouth Funeral Home Location
Whether you need help prearranging your burial plot, or are facing the loss of a loved one, you don’t have to handle things alone. An experienced funeral director who is part of your community and understands where you’re coming from can help you through the many decisions and uncertainties that accompany funeral planning.
Our Yarmouth location, located at 58 Long Pond Drive, opened as Morris, O’Connor & Blute. It became part of Chapman Funerals & Cremations in 2015, joining a legacy dating back to 1862.
Some things have changed since then, like the name on the door, and our newly renovated space. But most things haven’t, like our commitment to serving Yarmouth’s families with dignity and compassion, and the care we take in planning services that honor precious memories. Call (508) 398-2121 to learn more.